Only one of the Big Three auto makers in Detroit turned down the Bush bailout money: Ford Motor Co. I think that is a sign of future prosperity for the company.

Part of the reason Ford could reject the handout (do you really think the other two will pay back the money?) is its cash flow position. Being flush with cash is certainly a good thing. But there also are other signs that Ford is moving in the right direction.

First, it is putting more time, energy and funding into designing hybrids. The 2010 Ford Fusion may be ready for sale in the spring.

Second, as the emphasis on hybrids indicates, the company is looking ahead. Ford recently announced some of its 2010 models will feature self-parking technology as an option. Really. The cars will parallel park themselves at the push of a button.

Even if that technology doesn't quite pan out, it shows the company has some technological chops.

Finally, its inexpensive (I guess that's relative) Ford Focus has received good reviews from consumers. So have some of the company's other vehicles; in its February issue, Consumer Reports gives high marks to Ford in general and the Ford Fusion SEL, Lincoln MKZ, Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable and Ford Taurus X in particular.

All the good news from Ford bodes well for its suppliers. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Bridgestone Americas Inc., Continental Tire North America Inc., Hankook Tire America Corp., Michelin North America Inc. and Pirelli Tire North America all provide original equipment tires to Ford in the United States. Here's how their OE tire brand share at Ford breaks out:

Goodyear: 38%.

Bridgestone: 18%.

Firestone: 13%.

Continental: 8%.

General: 6%.

Michelin: 6%.

Hankook: 5%.

BFGoodrich: 3%.

Pirelli: 2%.

Uniroyal: 1%.

OE tire market share for 2008 will be covered in-depth in our 43rd annual Modern Tire Dealer Facts Issue. So will vehicle market share.

Author

Bob Ulrich
Bob Ulrich

Editor, Retired

Editor Bob Ulrich has earned a reputation as an industry expert thanks to his insightful, in-depth articles and blogs on the tire industry. Before joining Modern Tire Dealer in 1985, Bob earned a B.A. in English literature from Ohio Northern University. Also, he graduated from the University of Akron School of Law with a J.D.

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Editor Bob Ulrich has earned a reputation as an industry expert thanks to his insightful, in-depth articles and blogs on the tire industry. Before joining Modern Tire Dealer in 1985, Bob earned a B.A. in English literature from Ohio Northern University. Also, he graduated from the University of Akron School of Law with a J.D.

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